This is the cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf.
There used to be more of them, but, ya know, sometimes bad things happen to good wolves.
And this is Tyler Posey, who plays Scott McCall.
But sometimes, Scott looks like this, which is much scarier.
But in a hot scary way.
Teen Wolf returns with the second half of its third season on Monday, Jan. 6, and (spoiler alert!) Scott and the rest of Beacon Hills are going to be dealing with his transformation from a Beta Werewolf to a True Alpha.
Turning Posey into True Alpha Scott takes a lot of hard work, and this is the special effects team behind the transformation.
Meet Chris Gallaher, Kenny Myers, and Erik Porn. (Yes, Porn is a real last name. And yes, they call him by his last name most often.) They’re all part of the special effects makeup department on Teen Wolf, and they’re the people responsible for turning Posey — and all of the other supernatural actors on the show — into monsters.
“I respect them. I love these guys. I love what they do,” Posey told BuzzFeed. “They take a lot of time, and it’s very tedious. They’re good at what they do. I don’t think a lot of people take notice of that.”
To be fair, Gallaher, Myers, and Porn probably prefer that viewers don’t notice that the actor is wearing makeup, since part of their job is to make Posey’s wolf look appear as natural as possible.
“Straight makeup is all about correcting flaws and smoothing out skin, making someone look younger,” Gallaher, the head of the department, said of the difference between what he does versus the regular makeup world. “What we do is we try to re-create reality. When we do a paint job on something, we try to put flaws into it because if we made it too perfect, then it would look fake. Of course, the obvious thing we do is we make people scary as opposed to pretty, generally.”
BuzzFeed sat in the makeup trailer while Posey was transformed for an upcoming Season 3 episode. And this is what it takes to become a werewolf:
1. Posey uses prosthetic eyebrows, and in order to prevent them from pulling out his real eyebrows, they have to glue his own eyebrows to his face.
Posey, who was surprisingly well-versed in special effects makeup, admitted that he often asks a lot of questions, and genuinely finds the process interesting. “I really like to learn and know what they are doing to me,” he said. “So I can report them if they are doing anything wrong.”
He then went on to explain exactly why Porn was paying so much attention to his eyebrows. “We push the eyebrows down. We powder the eyebrows so that when you glue the [bandit mask (more on that later)] piece onto my face, my eyebrows don’t stick to it, which could hurt,” he said.
The glue used is called Telesis, and it’s mixed with thinner so that it can be more easily brushed on.
“Also,” Porn added, “it flattens the eyebrows down, so that we’re not seeing them through the makeup.”
“That’s probably the real reason why,” Posey laughed. “Because they don’t care about how I feel.”
Did I mention that Posey had just finished filming a rain scene and was only wearing boxers under the robe seen above?
2. Part of Posey’s werewolf look includes something called a “bandit mask,” which is a prosthetic that’s formulated to have the same density as human skin.
It’s called a bandit mask because it covers your forehead, goes down your cheeks, over your nose, and around your eyes. Basically, it looks like the face mask that a bandit would wear. It’s a one-piece silicone prosthetic, and because it’s formulated to look and feel like human skin, once it’s on, it should move as if you had nothing on.
Still, even though it feels natural, sometimes it makes your face itchy. And according to Gallaher, when that happens, the actors aren’t supposed to scratch it. “We try to encourage them to dab it, as opposed to scratching,” he said, fidgeting in his chair as if remembering a bad incident. “Sometimes, their eyes will feel a little sticky, so we’ll go in and we’ll powder them, or put some anti-shine on, or take the stick down some.”
When Posey said he’s never accidentally damaged his mask, the makeup team nodded and seemed appreciative.
3. To get the bandit mask to perfectly fit, they have to go through and painstakingly remove excess “skin” with brushes and Q-tips.
It’s a process called “flashing,” and the skin rolls off in long strands, like pieces of spaghetti, only fleshier.
4. When it’s time to make the mask stay on, they use a glue that was originally developed for colostomy bags.
The glue is called Bondo, and it was originally developed to help people glue on their colostomy bags. Now, though, it’s being used on Posey. When they dab it on with a sponge, it looks white, but it dries clear and gives the mask a texture that’s similar to skin.
“If there’s a piece of this edge that they took off, and it’s almost like sticking up a little bit, or just doesn’t look right against my skin, then they’ll put this stuff on it, and then color it and give it texture,” Posey explained. “It will look like skin, essentially.”
He also said that getting the Bondo stippled on is the most relaxing part of the makeup process. “It’s almost soothing. I don’t know why. I don’t know what it is about this Bondo,” he said.
5. Posey’s wolf ears are custom-made to fit only him, and they cover his entire ear.
Every wolf on the cast has his or her own ears created from a plaster mold. And ears aren’t the only body part the special effects makeup team is making casts of.
“They do that for my mouth and my teeth. They do that for my face, my arms, my chest, my ears, my hands, my wiener,” Posey laughed. “Just making sure you’re listening.”
“I think we go through ears more than any other type of prosthetic on the show,” he continued. “They get really dirty. They get a little torn up, because they’re just stuck to my head. Sometimes, especially when someone’s doing my hair, they just kind of don’t notice the ears. I’m like, ‘Yo. Watch the ears.’ They’ll kind of bump the ears every now and then, which is annoying. Plus, sometimes I’ll have to wear motorcycle helmets on top of my ears.”
6. “Cape time,” as Posey dubbed it, is a very important part of the makeup process…
7. Because it means the airbrushing is about to begin. In order to make Posey’s wolf mask look real, imperfections like freckles and splotches are airbrushed on. (Werewolves, they’re just like us!)
With the help of an airbrush machine, Porn mixes together a paint called Life Blush to perfectly match Posey’s skin tone. The color has to be mixed just so to match the skin of whoever’s in the chair. The process, much like painting, is all about attention to detail.
“It’s all mixed with alcohol so it’s very fume-y, so I sometimes have to hold my breath and close my eyes when they are doing it,” Posey said. “Sometimes, my skin color fluctuates with the seasons, and how much I’m in the sun. Usually, they try to get the [bandit mask] to match my face. Sometimes they can’t, but right now, it’s a pretty close match, so they won’t have to do much while they are trying to color tone it.”
8. All of the hair on Posey’s face is fake.
This is a dummy model of Posey’s head, where a set of sideburns, eyebrows, and a bandit mask are at the ready.
9. And the hardest part of Gallaher and Porn’s job is lining up the hairpieces.
The sideburns have to match up perfectly on both sides, which means while they’re being measured, Posey has to try to remain as still as possible. It isn’t until both pieces are lined up, attached to his face with Super Baldiez glue, and dried with a blow-dryer that the team knows if they actually are the right height.
While BuzzFeed was in the trailer, the sideburns didn’t quite match up.
“They put the piece on a little too low, and have to remove it,” Posey explained. Then he turned to Erik. “If you leave the dryer on their face too long, it starts to burn.”
“I know,” Porn said, apologetically. “I just did that.”
10. Posey’s claws aren’t nearly as sharp as they look.
“They used to be really hard and pretty much like claws,” Posey explained about previous claws he’d worn. “They also used to glue them on my fingers. Now they’re like rubber almost. And really soft. And instead of glue, it’s double-sided tape, so it’s a lot easier to come off. Because when we had those glued-on nails before and we were in a fight scene, we’d grab somebody and they would snap off and it literally felt like your whole nail came off. It was really painful.”
11. Wearing Alpha fangs is kind of like wearing braces.
“These are actually new teeth,” Posey said. “I have wisdom teeth, and my teeth shift a lot, so I have to get new teeth molds every now and then. So these are brand-new teeth, and they’re so comfortable. And they’re actually a little more vicious. They just pop right in. They’re like retainers almost.”
12. The hardest part of the makeup process for Posey has always been the contacts.
But luckily, he doesn’t have to deal with them anymore because the eye color is CGI’d now.
“This whole makeup process is just a complete breeze now that I don’t have the contacts,” Posey said. “Because literally, getting makeup on, my heart would just be racing knowing that the contacts were coming up. Then, when it finally happened, it was the worst thing in the world. Now that it doesn’t happen any more — they’re all CGI — we just talk about Grand Theft Auto, Beavis and Butthead. Really stupid jokes.”
13. On average, it takes two hours, from start to finish, to go through the wolf makeup process. And the end result is, of course, terrifying.
But getting a werewolf out of his/her makeup takes a lot less time.
“To take Tyler out of makeup, it’s about a half an hour,” Porn said. “It’s usually at the end of the night, and everybody’s in a rush to get us out. So we’re trying to do it as quickly as possible, but yet be gentle on the skin.”
Part of why it takes less time is because that bandit mask gets thrown out at the end of each shoot.
“We save the ears and the hairpieces, but the silicone prosthetic? Those are a one-shot deal because the edges are so delicate. Once we take it off, the edges are gone. The makeup remover dissolves them. So that gets thrown away,” Gallaher said. “The best part about makeup removal, in my opinion, the best part of the day is when you’re done, you get a nice hot towel. It sounds simple, but they feel so nice. When you’ve been in that makeup chair all day, and you get that nice hot towel at the end of the day, you see them kind of go, ‘Ahhh’. And it’s like, ‘OK, we’re good.’”
“It’s very odd and awkward to pretend to be a werewolf, while looking like a human,” Posey said. “It’s a lot easier to get into the character with the makeup on … Knowing how to act helps too, which I have no idea how to do. I’m learning how to act as we go.”